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Question DetailsAsked on 6/2/2017

we have a water damage from a hole in the roof. we have a one floor ranch, and have looked all over and cannot find

roof passed with flying colors inspection is 2011. we started noticing water dripping in our laundry room, from the ceiling. our long skinny attic, just had spray foam insulation that year. my husband waited for it to dry, and climbed the roof. he was unable to find it, and sprayed sealant all over the potential spots. now, four years and Michigan winters later, we are totally water logged, despite three trips to the roof looking for the issue.

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Unless there is obvious roof damage visible, the best place to look for a roof leak is in the attic - because in all but very unusual cases the source will be directly upslope (within a couple of feet laterally) of the highest elevation wet spot from the leak - though how far uphill depends on the effectvieness ofthe water barrier - sometimes a leak low down on the roof is actually coming from well up on the roof and running down the water barrier (tarpaper or synthetic barrier) for many feet till it finds a place to break through.


So - look when it is leaking or soon after when the sheathing/insulation will still be wet at the leak spot.


Tough leaks to locate, the best way to find them is when the outside and attic temperature are signficantly different (so commonly night or early morning) using a thermal infrared camera. On many modern smart phones and tablets the camera calibration can be biased to the near-infrared side of the light spectrum and act as a psuedo-infrared camera good enough to find wet spots in roofs and walls - there are cheap apps for this for most phones, and most or all Apple iphones/ipads have this capability built-in. You can look from underneath for wet sheathing, but to find the top of the wet zone in the shingles working from the surface of the roof usually works far better. Or find a roofer to inspect your attic who can bring a thermal IR camera - most commercial roofers have them (invaluable for finding flat roof leaks), residential roofers are starting to buy them now too.


If you had spray insulation put on the underside of the roof sheathing that will make it substantially harder to find the wet spot - and if the attic is unconditioned space (not part of the heated/air conditioned house and is open to the outside with venting) it is possible your "leak", if only in the winter/spring, is from melting of condensation in the attic, not a leak as such.


Some home inspectors and many insulation contractors also have thermal infrared cameras - though of course that means an additional person to the roofer who will be doing the repair, and the roofer of course would be depending on the other person to tell him where to look for the leak source.


One other thought - if you r A/C is in the attic, could it be a condensate leak from a leaking condensation collection pan or blocked discharge tube, allowing the A/C condensate to drain down into your living space ? Of course, if the leak correllates with rain or snow melt, then a roof leak is your issue.


Or if it correlates only with melting snow/ice on the roof then ice damming may be the issue (in which case the leak would be on an outside wall which supports a downslope of the roof (i.e. not a gable end).


Or if you have no roof overhang and it is related to rain/snow melt on a downslope roof over the leak, could be a roof drain leak (if very low slope or flat roof) or gutter backup overflowing into the fascia area and into the exterior wall from there.

Answered 1 year ago by LCD




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